I’ve found that if I’m going to stick to anything, I need to find a way to build that thing into the regular cadence of my life. If I have to remember to do a thing, it isn’t going to happen with any sort of regularity. However, if I can build that thing into the normal process of everyday living, I’ll be much more likely to do it.
As I try to be more fit across the board, there are five small habits I’m trying to nurture this month. They are:
- I want to practice mindfulness every day.
- I want to work out every week day (5x per week).
- I want to publish something on this blog every day.
- I want to log at least 5,ooo steps every day.
- I want to read for at least 10 minutes every day.
Based on my routines, I can already tell you which of these I’ll likely stick to and which ones will be a struggle.
My mindfulness routine includes an app and a partial schedule.
I use the Waking Up app*. I’ve tried practicing mindfulness on my own, but as a beginner I’ve found the app helps me feel more confident in knowing what to do while I attempt to develop this practice.
The beginner course in the Waking Up app takes about 10 minutes per day. I practice mindfulness each day just before starting work. I’m fortunate to be in a role where I set my own schedule, so I have the freedom to make mindfulness non-negotiable as a pre-work activity, even if that means I log on a couple of minutes later than usual.
What I lack right now is a routine for the weekends. I know how busy my weekends tend to get, so I think it probable that I will miss some days of practice over the weekend.
Predicted stick-to-it-tiveness in May: 80%.
My routine isn’t quite strong enough to predict perfection. I’ll likely miss a day or two most weekends, which suggests to me that I’ll be able to stick to my goal of daily mindfulness practice about 80% of the time.
*Affiliate link. I won’t get paid, but I will get a month free if you follow this link and sign up for the app.
My goal is to work out 5 days a week, and my routine is pretty solid. My work out routine includes both a schedule and a plan.
As I mentioned in my last post, I use a book by Mark Lauren called You Are Your Own Gym**. The book has four different 10-week work out programs of varying difficulty. During each 10-week cycle, there are 4 or 5 days of work out plans to complete, each taking between 15 and 40 minutes (though if you’re in a rush the longer ones can be condensed down to just over 30 minutes).
My goal is to work out 5 days a week. So what about those weeks where the book only has 4 workout? For those days, I have a sequence of 12 bodyweight exercises that I use as a simple interval workout.
To make sure I work out every day of the work week, I’ve started scheduling an hour lunch break in the middle of my workday.
As soon as I start my lunch break, I snooze notifications on my phone, change into workout clothes, and head down to my basement where my workout space and book are waiting on me.
Predicted stick-to-it-tiveness in May: 96%
I think I’ll hit this one with 100% consistency. My routine here is really solid. I started it two weeks ago and haven’t missed a day since. However, it’s entirely possible that something could come up one day causing me to miss a day. Thus I’m dropping this one to 96%.
**Not an affiliate link. 🙂
I still need to develop this routine. I don’t have one. Right now I’m relying on simply remembering to do this. I don’t foresee a problem during the week when I’ll see my colleagues publishing their posts and links showing up in Slack. However, on the weekends it seems probable that I will miss a day or two if I don’t find a routine.
Predicted stick-to-it-tiveness in May: 90%
This is based on the likelihood that I simply forget to blog part of the time on the weekends. I don’t want this to happen, but without a routine in place, I think it likely will.
I need to find a routine for my daily blogging habit.
5,000 Steps Per Day
My routine here is simply built into my life. Even if I didn’t set this as a goal I’d still do it most days.
I have 2 dogs and I don’t have a fenced in back yard. If I walk them three times a day, I’ll get in 5,000-7,000 steps, and that before counting the additional 2,000 (or so) steps I’ll get in simply walking around the house over the course of the day.
Predicted stick-to-it-tiveness in May: 90%
The only thing that will prevent me from reaching this goal is bad weather.
Read 10 Minutes Per Day
This is another goal where my routine is lacking, and thus the likelihood I stick to this goal is pretty low. In order to stick to this goal I believe my routine will need to consist of two things:
- A plan for what I’ll read.
- A plan for when I’ll read.
I have the first part of the routine in place.
I’m actively reading the first two books in the stack:
**Still not affiliate links.
What I lack is a plan for when I’ll read. My morning routine is as full as I can pack it without getting up earlier (not likely). My lunch break is booked solid. That leaves my afternoon and evening. With a houseful of kids, my afternoons and evenings are pretty unpredictable.
This isn’t an unsolvable problem, but it is unsolved.
Predicted stick-to-it-tiveness in May: 50%.
The Power of Routine
The idea that you need a routine if you’re going to stick to a thing isn’t my own. I got the idea from James Clear and his book Atomic Habits. I’ve found the idea to be both powerful and right on-the-money.
Based on what I know of myself and of my routines, I feel pretty good about my mindfulness practice, daily work outs, and walking at least 5,000 steps per day. I am worried I’ll simply forget to blog on the weekends, and I know I’ll have a hard time consistently reading.
The most important part in sticking to a thing isn’t finding the will power to do it. The most important part is finding a routine that makes it easy.